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shoutout to the guys in the 27th still overseas. >> reporter: one thing adam didn't lose, his airborne wings tattoo. >> you can take this one off. >> reporter: i didn't even -- >> the wings are still there too, the airborne wings. that's good. >> reporter: that's good. >> yeah, of course. >> reporter: that's actually pretty cool, the airborne wings. >> they made it. >> quadruple amputee, laying in a bed, hooked up to hoses, i can walk now. fist pump and then lean a little here. fist pump again. and jellyfish, jellyfish, jellyfish, jellyfish. >> reporter: barbara starr, cnn, national medical center. >> we thank those guys for their service, they're amazing. "cnn newsroom" continues now with hala gorani. >> thank you, suzanne. i'm hala gorani here in washington, d.c. in for brooke baldwin. grief today is shattering the christmas eve quiet on a sleepy town in new york. this is how it looked around 6:00 in the morning today.
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there was a massive house fire that ravaged homes overlooking lake ontario. the house fire spread as firefighters tried to dodge gunfire. the firefighters apparently walked into a trap just as they were responding to this. at last word, two firefighters are dead, three other first responders are wounded, and alleged gunman is dead. authorities can't say whether other bodies might be found in the eight homes destroyed or damaged by the fire in the town of webster. shocking, bizarre, tragic today. cnn's poppy harlow is in new york, trying to piece together this horrible chain of events here on christmas eve. so what happened, because authorities are saying potentially this was a trap laid out for the firefighters. >> that's what the police chief gerald pickering said in the last press conference, we're awaiting right now another press conference that should start any minute. but he did say that it appears that possibly these four first
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responders were lured into what was a trap. it started at 5:35 this morning, hala, responding to a typical house fire call. four firefighters came to this scene, all four were shot as you said. two dead, two wounded. i want you to take a listen to some sound from the police chief speaking in the past few hours about those that were killed. >> fireman mike chiporinni with the police department was deceased at the scene. scardino is in surgery, he's a fireman. and joseph happs is also a volunteer firefighter and a full time firefighter with the rochester fire department was also injured and is being treated at the scene. my lieutenant was a lifetime firefighter, i think he started out as an explorer, 20-year
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veteran of the police departm t department, lieutenant mik mike chiporinni. i know tomas was a younger individual, worked, again, for public service in the forefront, worked for 911, just by all accounts just a tremendous young man. these people get up in the middle of the night to put out fires they don't expect to be shot and killed. >> absolutely not. they don't expect to be shot at when they're coming to help put out flames and save lives. i want to show a picture to our viewers that we just got in of lieutenant mike chiporinni, one of the two officers that was killed. we don't have it for you. we'll get it to you next hour, for sure. the two that were injured are in the hospital in serious condition, both awake, alert, not on a ventilator. we're told they can talk, which is good news, but a long recovery ahead for them. hala, when this happened, so many flames went up and the firefighters had to retreat
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after they were shot at, so they couldn't put out the fires for hours. so they engulfed four homes, 33 people were evacuated and we still don't know if anyone was harmed in the fires. >> right. that's going to be something that is going to, in a few hours, of course, become clearer and clearer. what about this suspected shooter, do we know anything about him? >> not a lot. we actually don't even know if it is a man or a woman. we're still trying to find that out. we're told the suspected shooter was found deceased, dead, outside the home where the initial fire was. we don't know if that person is dead from a self-inflicted wound or from gunshots from the first responders or police. we don't know that either. authorities do tell us they have taken into custody some people they think have knowledge of the situation, so they're trying to figure out how this bizarre scenario unfolded, if this was a trap. the police chief did say in the press conference that of course there will be questions about whether or not an assault rifle was used. he said at this point he does not know and he doesn't know if
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it was one gun or multiple guns. this is still very much developing, but a tragedy on christmas eve. >> absolutely. thanks, poppy harlow in new york. just as i said, i realize knowing so little, we didn't know if it was a man or a woman. we'll continue to follow that. to texas, two people have died after a car chase ended in a shootout. the pursuit started after a bel air texas police officer tried to pull over a driver who refused to stop. the chase ended up in an auto parts business parking lot where police say the driver shot and killed the officer. and also a bystander. the driver is listed in critical condition at the hospital. eight days and counting from federal tax rates rising. government spending shrinking. and defending on details of your own situation, various tax breaks slipping away. in other words what we're
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calling the fiscal cliff. a plan to stop it all from happening still alludes washington, so congress has broken camp for the holidays and the president has gone to holiday on vacation. brianna keilar is out there for us in honolulu, eight days away from the fiscal cliff. are there any contacts occurring on this topic between the president and anyone in congress, briana? >> reporter: there is an open line of communication, i would say, with senate democrats, hala. but there is really no substantive conversations between the folks that you with need for there to be conversations between in order to strike a deal. the white house and congressional republicans, and perhaps more alarmingly, senate democrats are not in conversations right now with senate republicans or with house republicans. and this is problematic obviously because in order to avoid the fiscal cliff, you would need to find some sort of deal that would make it through the senate and the house and that would need democratic and
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republican support. now, all eyes on the senate because they will reconvene on the 27th, thursday. and senate majority leader harry reid, it is up to him, really, to cobble together something that can get some of that support. right now the white house is still supporting a threshold of $250,000 back to their initial starting point for tax rates going up for those making more than that. but you can imagine, hala, that's going to be very hard for some republicans, maybe even some democrats to sign on to. >> right. and for just about a week ago, it was common to hear a deal will be hammered out. over the last several days we're hearing more and more that potentially this is a reality for americans in eight days' time. your sources in the administration, is there a real concern among some of the people you're speaking with that indeed this fiscal cliff will become a reality? >> i thi >> reporter: i think there is much more of a concern. a couple of weeks ago, you talk
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to folks not only in the administration but on the hill, there was a thought that this may be averted. now i do think there is more pessimism. you're hearing that publicly, hala. that's also what is going on behind the scenes that there is that pessimism. there is a lot of public posturing, certainly about the blame and who is going to be to blame if we go over the fiscal cliff. but this pessimism about perhaps going over the cliff is very real. >> all right, brianna keilar in honolulu there, covering the president. as he vacations with his family over the christmas break there. thanks very much. we'll catch up with you a little bit later. now, today is christmas eve and the vatican city now, catholics are preparing to celebrate the birth of jesus christ. thousands are gathering at st. peter's basilica. in just two hours, the pope will celebrate christmas eve mass. in bethlehem, christians are gathering at the church of the in nativity. it is believed to be the birth place of jesus christ.
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now, palestinian authorities in the west bank were concerned with regards to tourism because of the recent conflict between israel and hamas and the gaza strip that this could deter visitors to the site this year. pope benedict xvi is preparing to deliver his homily, marking one of the holiest years for catholic. joining me on the phone is raymond arroyo. thank you for being with us. pope benedict xvi, the christmas eve homily, we get one every year from the pontiff. >> right. >> what are you expecting this year in particular? >> well, you know, hala, after reading the pope's new book, which is all about the infancy and the birth of christ, one imagines he'll sound similar things. there he really talked about the freedom that, you know, the virgin mary answering the call of the anke els agels and submi the call.
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i think it resonates with all of us, that we all have our own obligation to act with god's will. and in his will, and make good use and right use of that human freedom. i imagine we'll hear those themes today. and no doubt calling people to the wonder of the prince of peace who came and remains with us. >> i'll ask you about a christmas message pope benedict xvi delivered a couple of days ago. first, i want you to -- i want to ask you about the personality, the charisma, with no disrespect whatsoever, the pope benedict brand compared to, say, john paul ii, one of the most charismatic pontiffs, what kind of pope has pope benedict turned out to be in terms of how much he can affect and reach catholics around the world, do you think? >> i knew him when he was cardinal rossinger at the holy office there in the vatican. he was the final watchdog at the time. but i think what you have seen in the man, his professorial
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side often emerges. he gives people, i think, a lot of credit in -- you listen to the marrow of the messages, they're often chalk full of theology, philosophy and it takes a great deal on the part of the listener to receive and understand what he's saying. but that said, i think that there has been a gentility that emerged from benedict that a lot of people i think weren't expecting. and a genuine humbleness that, you know, john paul was such a charismatic, as you said, a dramatic actor, an activist. benedict is more of a teacher and professor. his charisma is different but perhaps what is needed now. he's not the grand figure, you know, out making -- trying to make headlines or draw attention to himself. he simply is claiming the gospel he's there to protect and advance. >> and, yes, and we see that as well in sort of the way he
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communicates his messages and interprets as well some of the scripture. but one of the things he said in the christmas message from a couple of days ago that i suppose raised eyebrows because of the timing, not because it was surprising in terms of the content, calling gay marriage a manipulation of nature. why choose the christmas season to make this type of statement, do you think? >> this is his annual sort of state of the church, and this is to the staff the vatican. we have to be very clear, the way this is reported i thought was redundant, like saying president obama's speech in n newtown was a call to scripture and prayer. it wasn't what he was talking about but he referenced scripture and prayer. the first words out of his mouth, the lord is already near, come, let us adore him. it was a spiritual message. in the middle of the message he reflected on the traditional family which we know the church supports and has long supported. and defended. and he made glancing reference
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to our personal selfishness and said that's a threat to the family. people not wanting to make commitments. and therefore give of their time and their energy to have families in the first place. and then he made reference to this manipulation of nature. but he never mentioned gay marriage. he never mentioned gay people in there. so i think, you know, it is it was certainly one can interpret that was the focus of what he was talking about in that particular paragraph. but i think to characterize the whole message that way is reductive. he was calling all of us to task for various failings, in our personal lives, and i think that the message is that the dialogue -- we have to engage in an ongoing dialogue, even with those who disagree with us. i would include gay people. >> raymond arroyo, thank you for joining us with your take on what we expect to be the content of the homily a little later in th christmas message as well. raymond arroyo is the news director of the eternal world television network. thank you for being with us. we're going to take a short
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break on cnn. 2012 turned out to be a year full of incredible stories. some sparked international outrage. and as others developed, the details were almost too hard to believe. still ahead, the top ten crime stories of 2012. check out my new treadmill app. pretty sweet, huh? cute. but don't you have any apps on your phone that can make your life easier? who do you think i am, quicken loans? at quicken loans, we'll provide you with myql mobile. this amazingly useful app allows you to take pictures of your mortgage documents using an iphone or android smart phone... so you can easily send them to us. one more way quicken loans is engineered to amaze.
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visit progressive.com today. another deadly bakery bombing in syria. nine people today are dead
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including six children killed in an air raid while waiting for bread. it is the second attack on hungry civilians in as many days. one of the most shocking single events of this conflict. syrian warplanes dropping bombs on a bakery in hama province. the aftermath here, more than 100 killed while waiting in line. this amid reports six rebel fighters died after inhaling white gas. we're not sure what it is. the opposition says canister bombs were thrown at dissidents in the embattled city of homs. mohammed jamjoom joins me from beirut and lakhdar brahimi met with syria's president. before we get to that meeting, let's talk about the bakery bombings, the opposition is saying essentially once a town is, quote, liberated and taken over by rebels, the government's
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dropping bombs on lines of civilians waiting for bread on purpose in order to terrorize themohammed. >> reporter: that's right. the syrian government is saying that as of yet what happened was the work of terrorists it was terrorists that went there, that carried out the massacre and the syrian military went in there and killed and captured many of them and restored order. that's different than what we're hearing from the eyewitnesses and residents there who say they were targeted on purpose. we must remember we're hearing more and more the last few months about bakeries being targeted. human rights watch in august said that at least ten occasions in aleppo province that bakeries were targeted that scores of people were killed and injured as a result. a lot of the activists we speak with say that more and more these bakeries are targeted, when there are people gathering outside in areas where there are food shortages, when bakeries are able to open in these towns and provinces, the syrian military, they believe, sees that as a threat these gathers and then they deliberately target the places and that's why so many civilians are killed as
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a result. >> on the diplomatic front, we have another visit to damascus by the united states arab league vo envoy lakhdar brahimi. he met with officials in the syrian capital. what came out of this meeting? >> reporter: well, not a lot of concrete details that we have heard so far. and this seems to be the pattern when it comes to officials going to damascus. you don't hear the details of what was discussed. he spoke to reporters after his meeting with bar shshar al assa. he left syria. he was going to be meeting with other international leaders and regional power players and taking messages back and forth and trying to make sure syria comes out of its crisis. he says it is a dire situation there and only getting worse every day. but this was playing out today amidst the backdrop of bakery bombings yesterday, a bakery attacked today, hundreds of people being killed in the last few days, and it just seems to be spiraling more and more and more out of control.
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>> certainly not getting any better that's for sure. thanks, mohammed jamjoom in beirut. as far as americans are concerned, there is a new cnn poll out today and it shows americans are worried or concerned about the civil war in syria. a total of 80% if you add up the percentages say they're either very concerned or somewhat concerned with what is going on in syria. but according to that same poll, most americans are against arming the rebels or any u.s. involvement in the fighting there. we're going to take a break. the southeast is bracing for severe weather. how your travel and christmas could be impacted. to the best vacation spot on earth. (all) the gulf! it doesn't matter which of our great states folks visit. mississippi, alabama, louisiana or florida, they're gonna love it. shaul, your alabama hospitality is incredible. thanks, karen. love your mississippi outdoors. i vote for your florida beaches, dawn. bill, this louisiana seafood is delicious.
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we're having such a great year on the gulf, we've decided to put aside our rivalry. now is the perfect time to visit anyone of our states. the beaches and waters couldn't be more beautiful. take a boat ride, go fishing or just lay in the sun. we've got coastline to explore and wildlife to photograph. and there's world class dining with our world famous seafood. so for a great vacation this year, come to the gulf. its all fabulous but i give florida the edge. right after mississippi. you mean alabama. say louisiana or there's no dessert. this invitation is brought to you by bp and all of us who call the gulf home.
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hi. i'm captain amanda at engine lake air base turkey. i wanted to take a second to say merry christmas and happy new year to my family in colorado. my dad al, my mom deborah, my sister liz and my dog jackson. i love you and i miss you. >> always say hi to the dog when you can. i know i do. if you're traveling this holiday, be on the lookout for both snow and severe weather out there as well. alexandria steele joins me for that on who is going to get a white, which is nice, unless it is severe, or a wet christmas. what's the situation? >> that's right. good afternoon, hala. hi, everyone. for tomorrow, who will be wet and who will be white? we will see rain in the southeast. houston, new orleans, atlanta, and the west coast as well. but it is not just rain. it is the potential for severe weather outbreak in the southeast and i'll show you that. who will be white, wichita, oklahoma city, snow for you. little rock and spokane. let me delineate the day and show you what is going to happen
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tomorrow. this is really the biggest concern. tomorrow morning, from houston through new orleans, the potential for strong tornadoes, 60 to 80-mile-per-hour winds and strong hail and big hail as well. and then it moves east during the afternoon. so the panhandle of florida gets into it. atlanta, birmingham, tomorrow afternoon and tomorrow night. and then it moves on wednesday here to the eastern seaboard. so the severe threat, very real and also very rare. rare tornadoes in florida and georgia. last time we had tornadoes on christmas was 2006. and oklahoma city, very rare for snow and you are going to see oklahoma city five to eight inches of snow tomorrow as the big storm gets going, hala, and moves from the southeast with severe weather in through the mid-atlantic and northeast. >> okay, alexandra steele, thanks very much. from fiscal cliff to crime and punishment, we'll show you our top ten stories of 2012 next. you know me as carl.
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♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] everyone deserves the gift of all day pain relief. this season, discover aleve. all day pain relief with just two pills. here is the mug shot after crapo's arrest in a washington, d.c. suburb. he's a mormon and supposedly doesn't drink alcohol, but it turns out crapo, in fact, does drink alcohol given the arrest. here is a part of his statement he released to the media. i made a mistake for which i apologize to my family, my idaho
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constituents, and any others who have put their trust in me. i accept total responsibility and will deal with whatever penalty comes my way in this matter. police say crapo was alone when he was arrested. his blood alcohol level was .11. when the new congress convenes, he's expected to be the top republican on the senate banking committee. he hasn't been nominated as defense secretary yet, but former senator chuck hagel is getting some heat. hagel apologized for comments he made years ago that even heinse. let's bring in barbara starr at the pentagon for more on this potential chuck hagel nomination. we don't know if he'll be nominated yet. barbara, what are the attacks against hagel? >> classic washington trial balloon. the nomination isn't out, nomination hasn't been made, but the pins are sticking in that trial balloon. first, senator hagel apologized
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for comments he made back around 1997, 1998 when there was a man who was openly gay about to become an ambassador, hagel opposed all of that, made some comments about gay people. now he says all these years later he regrets it, it is not what he believes. and by all accounts members of those who represent pro gay rights movements in washington have accepted senator hagel's apology on that. item number two, a lot of questions about whether hagel is tough enough on iran. did he cast some votes in the senate that did not support sanctions against iran? number three, israel. this may be the one that gets the most traction and already has, in fact. a lot of pro israeli groups are saying that senator hagel simply isn't supportive enough of israel. before we get to that, i have to tell you, a lot of his supporters say he is, they point to his votes on both sides of
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this issue, his senate track record, but there is a new commercial out here in washington already, even before he's nominated. have a listen. >> president obama says all options are on the table for preventing a nuclear iran. hagel said military action is not a viable, feasible, responsible action. president obama. for secretary of defense, chuck hagel is not a responsible option. >> that's from the emergency committee for israel, pro israeli group, of course. i want you to listen also to what senator joe lieberman, an independent and another very prominent republican senator from hagel's own party had to say about him over the weekend. >> i would have some really serious questions to ask him. not just about israel, but to me, the most significant foreign policy challenge for president obama and our country and the world in the next year or two is
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iran and its nuclear weapons program. chuck hagel has had some very outlying votes on that. >> i don't think he's going to get republican votes. i like chuck, but his positions, i didn't really quite frankly nomo all know all of them. >> senator lindsey graham, very prominent senator, already some of hagel's own republican party coming up against him. >> we'll see if this campaign against him is effective enough, i guess, barbara, in order for this nomination not to happen at all. this is the big open question with regards to chuck hagel. barbara, we'll keep in touch on this story throughout the coming hours. barbara starr at the pentagon. it is the bottom of the hour. i'm hala gorani in washington, d.c. in for brooke baldwin today.
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this year definitely had its share of crime stories. some capturing international attention and outrage. others were filled with disturbing details almost too hard to believe. here is randi kaye with the top ten crime and punishment stories of 2012. >> the year turned out to be one full of some incredible stories, some unfolded and sparked international outrage and others as developed, the details were almost too hard to believe. crimes were committed and in some cases justice was handed down. but for some victims, they may never know what justice feels like. here is our top ten list of crime and punishment stories of 2012. >> a manhunt is under way for mcafee software founder john mcafee. >> the computer whiz and millionaire is wanted for questioning in the murder of an american ex-patriot in belize.
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>> nobody seems to know where he is. >> yes, this one was strange, and only got stranger after weeks went by and no one could find him. well, not no one. >> breaking news now, a fugitive software tycoon john mcafee has been on the run for three weeks from authorities, but our martin savidge found him. >> mcafee claims he didn't kill his neighbor. number nine, the day darkness fell under a crystal clear august sky in wisconsin. >> the very information that we know, seven people are dead at this point, three of them, we're told, outside of that temple. >> the gunman on a rampage at a sikh temple, u.s. army veteran wade michael page. after shooting one police officer multiple times -- >> shots fired, shots fired. >> page was shot and killed by another officer. number eight, the massacre in kandahar province. >> the united states takes this as seriously as if it was our
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own citizens and our own children who were murdered. >> the accused gunman, army staff sergeant robert bales. military officiales say he left his afghanistan outpost on a night back in march and single-handedly attacked two villages. opening fire and killing 16 afghan civilians in their homes and wounding six others. number seven, striking a deal in the shooting that struck a blow to the nation. >> the man who shot gabrielle giffords and killed six people in a rampage in tucson last year pleaded guilty to 19 charges. >> jared loughner sentenced to seven consecutive life terms and 140 years. his guilty plea means he will avoid the death penalty. chicago's murder rate surged this year to levels not seen in almost a decade. by december, close to 500 people were killed in the city. >> it is just not the gang bangers. right now innocent kids and women are being shot on a daily basis. >> averaging more than a murder
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a day, most of the crime happened in a few specific areas. >> the entire city suffers when that violence happens and this idea of not in my backyard is not okay. >> we start this morning with breaking news from italy. >> a massive cruise ship, the costa concordia, turned on its side after running aground in january. 32 passengers and crew were killed, the captain says it was an accident, not a crime, but he now faces charges. the ship's captain is being investigated for manslaughter and abandoning ship. he claims he tripped and fell into a lifeboat. the sentencing of jerry sandusky. >> carol, jerry sandusky will die in jail. >> a judge sentenced the 68-year-old former penn state assistant football coach to at least 30 years in jail after he was convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse. despite the mountain of evidence against him, sandusky continues to proclaim his innocence. he's in the process of appealing
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his sentence. number three, the shooting of unarmed 17-year-old trayvon martin. >> my son left stanford, florida, in a body bag while george zimmerman went home to go to sleep in his own bed. >> accused gunman george zimmerman claims self-defense in a case that sparked international outrage and ignited racial tensions. trial is set for june. number two -- >> we need rescue inside the auditorium. multiple victims. >> seven down! >> july 20th, just past midnight, terror inside theater nine. >> aurora, colorado, nine miles east of denver, where there has been a mass shooting at a movie theater. >> prosecutores say james holmes donned protective gear, threw tear gas and began firing. in the end, 12 people killed, 58 others wounded. holmes faces 152 charges.
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many victims continue to recover, while others will never recover the loss they suffered that night. and number one -- >> unimaginable horror grips the nation in one of the deadliest school shootings in u.s. history. >> tragedy at sandy hook elementary. >> this is unspeakable what happened in this town. >> innocent children shot dead in their classrooms. the victims, 16 6-year-olds, 4 7-year-olds with 6 adults. >> emilie's laughter was infectious and all those who had a pleasure to meet her would agree this world is a better place because she's been in it. >> in newtown, connecticut, an outpouring of kindness and compassion, while a nation faced hard questions about mental health and guns. as the president issued an emotional call for action. >> for those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on and make our country
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worthy of their memory. >> randi kaye, cnn, atlanta. well, also this hour, keeping an eye on a south american volcano. there is a red alert as it is called. but people are not evacuating. we'll ask an expert why and what we can expect from this. initiated. neural speeds increasing to 4g lte. brain upgrading to a quad-core processor. predictive intelligence with google now complete. introducing droid dna by htc. it's not an upgrade to your phone. it's an upgrade to yourself.
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[ male announcer ] when diarrhea hits, kaopectate stops it fast. powerful liquid relief speeds to the source. fast. [ male announcer ] stop the uh-oh fast with kaopectate. the southwest uk is getting hammered with rain causing some travel nightmares. it has to rain a lot in the uk to make any kind of difference. they're used to it. there is floodwater everywhere in devon, england. the drenching rain is causing massive travel problems.
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with roads and rail lines as well washed over. that's affecting the commute for people. britain's lined up sandbags on the weekend and now officials are warning people about even trying to get out on the roads. parts of wales and scotland are also getting flooded. people in chile and argentina are watching a volcano that straddled the border between the two countries. the volcano has been spewing smoke into the sky. ash has been raining down on surrounding towns. you can see it there. almost looks like snow. it is ash. i'm joined now in the phone by larry masten. so far, chile is on red alert, but no one has been ordered to leave. why is that, larry? >> well, i can tell you based on what i've seen in the reports from the chilean agency, there was an eruption that started on midday on saturday, and according to their most recent
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reports, the plume is coming out of the volcano now is only a kilometer high. that's not very high by the standards of most volcanic plumes. >> why is it a red alert then? >> well, that's a good question. i think you should probably ask them directly, but according to the news reports, the -- they're doing it under the possibility that the volcano could ramp up. historically it produced fairly small eruptions. if it stopped right now, for example, the size of the eruption we saw on saturday and sunday wouldn't be that different from the size of the eruptions that have happened in the last few decades. >> if you were in one of those towns at the base of that volcano there, would you stay there? would you spend the night happily and comfortably or would you leave? >> well, it depends how close they are, of course. if they're right on the flanks of the volcano, i don't know the
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geography of that volcano very well since i'm not a chilean volcanologist, if it becomes active or in river valleys that are very close to the volcano would be in danger. and once you get farther away from the volcano, it depends on the wind direction. so since in that area the wind is most commonly blowing from west to east areas that are, say, tens of kilometers downwind could certainly be affected by ash fall, which is not life threatening, but it could disrupt transportation. >> mm-hmm. we know that -- we know what ash clouds can do -- we know what ash clouds can do to transportation from the icelandic volcano. we'll keep our eye on this. larry masten joining us there on the phone with more on that chilean volcano. red alert but no evacuations. we'll continue to follow that. okay, it is christmas eve.
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so last minute holiday shoppers are out in force. however, procrastination could actually work to your advantage this year. we'll tell you why.
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well, a lot of heavy hearts in newtown. the last victims of the sandy hook school shooting have been laid to rest. but a bit of goodness has shown
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up in the form of cards and packages. letters from children, from their parents, from all around the u.s., and, indeed, all around the world. here is cnn's lisa sylvester. >> a perfect b. >> reporter: 4-year-old keylynn takes her time, working to get each word right. >> start here. >> reporter: she's writing a letter. >> dear parents, i know that you are upset. >> reporter: a letter to the parents of the children killed in the newtown shooting. she and her mother live in bowie, maryland, have never been to newtown. never been to the state of connecticut. but they wanted to show the town that they care. >> we're writing letters just to let them know that, you know, our hearts are with them, they're in our prayers. >> because i want to make them cheer up. >> right away we started seeing mail volume come in, began with a few hundred, and now it is thousands per day we're
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receiving. >> want to start handing the packages -- >> reporter: in the middle of the sorrow, sadness and heart bre break is something else, compassion. letters, cards, and boxes pouring into newtown. >> i don't know if they feel like strangers. i think they feel very connected to the tragedy here, but they're coming from as far away as sicily, england, australia, and every corner of this country. so they may not have personal knowledge of the families here, but they certainly share their pain. >> reporter: keylynn knows only what her mother told her, a bad guy hurt and killed children. but she offers this message. >> dear parents, i know you are upset. but your children are now fine in heaven. love keylynn. >> reporter: with her letter, she's sending two pictures. her vision of a rainbow. lisa sylvester, cnn, bowie,
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maryland. >> the town received thousands of letters. and if you would like to send one of your own, you can mail it to messages of condolence for newtown. p o box 3700, newtown, connecticut, 06470. i know. i'm will, and this is the nokia lumia 920 from at&t. it's got live tiles so all my stuff's always right there in real-time. it's like the ultimate personal assistant. but i'm me, and me needs handlers. so i hired todd to handle it for me. todd, gimme that hollywood news! what's happening on twitter? you're trending! yes! you can't have a todd, but you can have your own personal assistant. i guess you could call it todd. [ male announcer ] the new nokia lumia 920 with live tiles that deliver what you want in real time. only from at&t. rethink possible. time for citi price rewind. because your daughter really wants that pink castle thing. and you really don't want to pay more than you have to.
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yes. no. are you them? i'm me. but those rates are for... them. so them are here. yes! you want to run through it again? no, i'm good. you got it? yes. rates for us and them -- now that's progressive. call or click today. travis bailey, happy holidays and merry christmas to friends and family back home. thank you for all your support. >> it is an annual tradition, tracking santa's whereabouts on christmas eve. ritual has gotten more high tech. alexandria steele joins me again. and is following the track from atlanta. where is he right now? >> right now he's in russia,
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headed toward the ukraine. let me show you this. it is the back story with this that is so cool. what happened was in 1955, there was an advertisement in a local paper in colorado springs and it asked kids and invited kids to call santa if they wanted to talk to him. the problem was, the advertisement had the wrong phone number and the number was for norad, which really essentially is a center, a group of people who are monitoring the skies above us. the officers on duty, though, they laughed and played along and that's the rest is history. here is the norad website, last spotted in russia. he's headed for the ukraine in 13, in 12, in 11 seconds. this is just a really cool site. there is so many things kids can do on this, play games. and here is the little village, you can select the scene and watch it. this is adorable. and santa hidden activities in each city. and google is getting into the act as well. google saying you can follow us
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and we'll track santa as well. so here's google's santa tracker. and it, too, scrolls through the little town, games, activities, i mean there is so much to do. so these are just some of the things you can track santa, hala, tonight, throughout the day and watch him move across the world. it is cool. myriad ways of to do it. i love the back story. isn't that cool? >> it is. here is the question, google is getting in on this. for years we have tracked santa with norad. but are they in the same place at the same time? >> that's right. yeah, there isn't a real disparity between the two. i've been monitoring to make sure that sleigh is in sync and it appears to be. >> it appears to be. okay. interesting. because santa is real. and we can track him. he's in the ukraine. thanks very much, alexandra, we'll see you later. when we come back, as a community is rocked by superstorm staandy recovers, we profile a group that is lending
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a helping hand to those hit the hardest. probiotic cap each day helps defend against these digestive issues with three strains of good bacteria. approved! [ female announcer ] live the regular life. phillips'.
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in the wake of superstorm sandy, hundreds in the town of rockaway, new york, are still putting the pieces back together. and as the community rebuilds, one group is out on the streets trying to give the gift of hope to its fellow neighbors. it is today's "giving in focus." >> this is our opportunity to
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really help a lot of people. >> we were totally wiped out like many other people. we lost all the belongings. we lost our car. we lost a friend across the street. >> a lot of really ugly basketball games were held right here. >> extremely busy. all good stuff. all the money coming in and got to get the checks in and write out checks. >> that's our mission, to help our neighbor in their time of need. we have a lot of tentacles. we reached out in a lot of different ways. back in 1995, we had a -- the saint francis summer classic basketball program. and i was one of the fellows that helped run the league and some guys that recently moved into rockaway had a common bond and that common bond was basketball. after 9/11, one fellow sent me an e-mail that said gray beards of columbus. like the knights of columbus, we can become a not for profit in the community.
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my qualifications were i was the guy that collected $20 at the bar after we played basketball. >> to have steve show up at my house today, it means a lot. we totally have zero. we lost everything. couple of items here and there, but -- >> hello? when you do something for somebody, the, you know, you go through the tears, you go through the thanks, the hugs and everything, but at the end of the day, you walk away, you go -- i just -- your name came across our desk. so from the gray beards. >> you don't have to do that. >> how are you holding up? all right? >> yeah. >> i did good today, you know? i helped somebody. >> little something, all right. hope you get through. >> the gray beards change a person's life.
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there is an expression in rockaway about you're born with sand in your diaper. after years of irritation, you know, you want to feel good, so you go out and help people, you know? >> there you have it. people trying to lend a helping hand. if you forgot to do your christmas shopping, or waited until the 11th hour, you're not alone. this is the 11th hour, by the way in case you were wondering. alison kosik is at the new york stock exchange. millions of americans are expected to brave the stores tonight, alison. >> 17 million people are expected to hit the stores today for last minute gifts. consumer report survey conducted from december 10th through the 17th found 67% of shops her not finished their christmas shopping yet. 14% had yet to start. there are probably a lot of bargains out there, for toys and winter clothes and other items that retailers want off their shelves by january. that's not necessarily what last minute shoppers are looking for.
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well, over half told consumer reports they'll grab a gift card, wine and liquor is a popular last minute choice. 27% will end up giving cash. while 4% say they'll give an iou this year. there is the cyber shoppers. online shopping is up 16% this holiday season. this season has seen 12 days with online spending of over a billion dollars. last week, americans spent $3.7 billion online. that's up 53% from 2011. by most measures, it has been a huge year for online retailers and it will continue right through christmas day. 8.2% of those surveyed by the national retail federation said they would shop online tomorrow. that number has doubled since 2009. hala? >> alison kosik, thanks very much. i am hala gorani in washington, d.c. in for brooke baldwin. vatican city now, catholics are preparing to celebrate the birth
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of jesus christ. thousands are gathering at st. peter's basilica. next hour, pope benedict xvi will celebrate christmas eve mass. the pontiff is preparing to deliver his christmas eve homily to mark one of the holiest days of the year for catholics. i asked eternal world tv network news director raymond arroyo about what message catholics should expect from the pontiff this christmas. >> after reading the pope's new book, which is all about the infancy and the birth of christ, one imagines he'll sound similar themes. he really talked about the freedom that, you know, the virgin mary, answering the call of the angels and submitting to that culall and human freedom i essential to the church's teaching and the nativity story. i think it resonates with all of us, that we all have our own obligation to act with god's will and in his will -- >> raymond arroyo on what to
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expect from the homily and the message of -- by the pope to catholics. this is bethlehem in west bank. christians are gathering at the church of the nativity there. the west bank town is believed by christians to be the birth place of jesus christ. but palestinian authorities feared that the recent conflict between israel and hamas could deter visitors to the site this year and hurt tourism to bethlehem. now if you're on the road this holiday, be prepared, it could be a stormy christmas in some parts of the united states and some areas may be in store for severe weather. alexandra steele joins me now to take a look at who is going to have a wet christmas, which is not very pleasant, or a white christmas, which could be quite nice. hi, alexandra. >> good afternoon, hala. hi, everyone. want to show you the current radar picture in the southeast. and atlanta, stormy. all east of you. but is this the big storm of tomorrow? no. this is just the opening act. here's where the big storm is. now, right now we're watching
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this area of low pressure develop. it is bringing snow to the wasatch, moving through the colorado rockies. now here is the time stamp moving throughout tonight and into tomorrow. here is the area of low pressure, gets incredibly juiced up. look what it does. oklahoma city, 5 to 8 inches of snow. incredibly rare. that kind of event. and then the low. so tomorrow morning, we're going to see, the potential for severe weather, meeting the potential for one or two tonights, but a serious tornado outbreak. 60 to 80-mile-per-hour wind gusts and large hail to boot. tomorrow morning, texas and louisiana, and then from tomorrow afternoon through tomorrow night, atlanta, birmingham gets into the severe weather action and then you can see wednesday morning, the same area of low pressure moves up the coast, more snow for the mid-atlantic, st. louis gets into snow, ohio valley on wednesday as well. and then from wednesday to thursday, bring snow into the northeast and new england. so this thing has got a lot of legs. so who gets wet for christmas? houston, new orleans, atlanta, southeast but, again, not only wet, but the severe weather
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potential. san francisco and seattle, wichita, oklahoma city, little rock, snow for you as well. here is the quadrant of concern for tomorrow, again. tornadoes, hail, how rare are tornadoes? they're very rare. in florida and georgia, the last time we had a christmas tornado, 2006 and we had six, 1969 before that with 12, and not out of the question for double digit tornadoes, and how rare is snow in oklahoma city, only six of 122 years have we had at least an inch of snow. this, oklahoma city christmas, will be five to eight inches of snow. rare across the board, rare, robust storm moving through, hala, tomorrow. >> alexdra, thanks very much. see you later in the coming hours with more holiday weather. we have new details on that horrible story involving a huge fire here on christmas eve in upstate new york. you can see some of the images. the police chief of webster, new
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york, announced that seven homes were destroyed. firefighters haven't gone inside yet. they don't know what they're going to find there. gunman, the man who shot four first responders, killing two of them, that gunman has now been identified. he apparently took his own life. authorities say he apparently lured the firefighters to the site of the fire and shot them. let's go to poppy harlow in new york. she's getting more information as well on what we know. what more can you tell us, poppy, about this? >> well, we have some fresh sound we want to play for everyone. it is pretty disturbing sound coming in from two of the firefighters, just remind our viewers, four firefighters, the first responders, to this house fire early this morning were shot at. two were killed. those who were lieutenant mike chiapperini and tom kaczowka, both killed. two more injured, theodore scardino and joseph hofstetter, being treated at a local hospital for serious injuries. we're going to play you some
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sound now that is a discussion between the two that were injured and survived and fire dispatchers just minutes after the shooting.
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>> so you heard some of that, you heard one of the firefighters saying that they were trapped, basically finding cover, hala, and saying i need ems soon. i need ems soon. very disturbing sound there as you said. seven houses destroyed because once these fires were shot, the first responders couldn't fight the fires. they had to retreat. they blazed on for hours and hours, catching seven homes on fire. the big question at this hour, were there any people in those homes are those people okay? we don't know because police say they haven't yet been able to
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get inside of those homes. also an off duty police officer, john ritter, was by the scene, just happened to be there. he was also hit with some shrapnel. he's also being treated, but, you know, the s.w.a.t. team had to come in and remove 33 residents in the area in armored personnel carriers to evacuate them from an incredibly dangerous situation. >> well, i mean, and it is just a bizarre story. what we believe happened is that a shooter lured firefighters to the scene of a fire, and then shot two of them dead, injured two others. so what more do we know about this suspected shooter at this point? >> we have no idea why these first responders may have been lured, hala, but, yes, police, the police chief there is saying it appears to be some sort of trap to lure them in, but no motive is known at all, nothing said about that at the press conference. that said, let me tell you what we know about the shooter because that has just come out in last hour. his name william spangler.
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he was born in september 1950. has a pretty extensive criminal background. we know that he was arrested in 1980, then convicted in '81 for shooting and killing his grandmother. he served time in new york state prison until 1998 when he was released. he was then on parole until 2006. police haven't really had any contact with him since 2006, no major issues have come up. but, again, a man over 60 years old, killing his grandmother, serving time for that. eventually being released and now this. we also know that police are saying he killed himself, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. >> all right, poppy harlow, thanks very much. we'll be getting back to poppy, of course, in the coming hours with more, because details are emerging very regularly in this story that is still unfolding. to texas now, speaking of shootings, two people are dead after a car chase that ended in
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a shootout there. the pursuit started after a bel air, texas, police officer tried to pull over a driver. the driver refused to stop. the chase ended up in an auto parts business parking lot where police say the driver shot and killed the officer and a bystander. the driver is listed in critical condition at a hospital. lawmakers enjoying the christmas holiday off and with just eight days until the fiscal cliff, is anyone truly trying to strike a deal? >> hi. i'm captain thea alli, deployed to southwest asia. i wanted to say hi and happy holidays to my mom and dad in greenville, south carolina and my friends and family. happy holidays! while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis, staying active can be difficult. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain so your body can stay in motion. because just one 200mg celebrex a day
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mike crapo from idaho said he's sorry about a dui he got over the weekend. here is the mug shot snapped after crapo's arrest in a washington, d.c. suburb, early sunday morn. he's a mormon. he supposedly doesn't drink alcohol. it turns out he does. here is part of the statement he released to the media. i made a mistake for which i apologize to my family, my idaho constituents and any others who have put their trust in me. i accept total responsibility and will deal with whatever penalty comes my way in this matter. police say crapo was alone when he was arrested and his blood alcohol level was over the limit, .11. when the new congress convenes, crapo is expected to be the top republican on the senate banking committee. eight days to go now for federal tax rates rising,
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government spending shrinking and depending on details of your own situation, various tax breaks slipping away. this could have a very, very bad impact on the economy as a whole. it is called the fiscal cliff. for that reason. a plan to stop it all from happening still eludes washington. so congress has broken camp for the holidays, the president has gone to hawaii on vacation. white house correspondent brianna keilar tells us no one is really talking, anyone, to get this solved. at least not here at christmas. >> reporter: senate democrats are not in conversations right now with senate republicans or with house republicans. and this is problematic obviously because in order to avoid the fiscal cliff, you would need to find some sort of deal that would make it through the senate and the house and that would mean democratic and republican support. right now, all eyes on the senate because they will reconvene on the 27th that is thursday. and senate majority leader harry reid, it is up to him really to
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cobble together something that can get some of that support. right now the white house is still supporting a threshold of $250,000 back to their initial starting point for tax rates going up for those making more than that. but you can imagine, hala, that will be very hard for some republicans, maybe even some democrats to sign on to. >> right, and, you know, for just about a week ago, it was common to hear, oh, a deal will be hammered out. but over the last several days, we're hearing more and more that potentially this is a reality for americans in eight days' time. your sources in the administration, is there a real concern among some of the people you're speaking with that indeed this fiscal cliff will become a reality? >> reporter: i think there is much more of a concern. i think a couple of weeks ago when you talked to folks not only in the administration, but on the hill, there was a thought that this may be averted. now i do think there is more pessimism. you're hearing that publicly, hala. that's also what is going on
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behind the scenes. >> brianna keilar, white house correspondent speaking with us from honolulu, hawaii. 2012, a year filled with bright moments, significant achievements and, of course, tragedy. there were stories and people that grabbed our attention and kept us talking. still ahead, what you, our viewers, chose as your top ten most intriguing people of this year. ...so as you can see, geico's customer satisfaction is at 97%. mmmm tasty. and cut! very good. people are always asking me how we make these geico adverts.
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so we're taking you behind the scenes. this coffee cup, for example, is computer animated. it's not real. geico's customer satisfaction is quite real though. this computer-animated coffee tastes dreadful. geico. 15 minutes could save you 15 % or more on car insurance. someone get me a latte will ya, please?
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in afghanistan, a navy s.e.a.l. commander is dead in what may be a suicide. s.e.a.l. team four commander jeb price was found dead after he didn't show up for a meeting on saturday. he had an apparent gunshot wound to the head. price was in charge of more than
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two dozen staff members. s.e.a.l. team four helps train local police to keep back the taliban, in outlying parts of afghanistan. he was married and he had a 9-year-old daughter. still in afghanistan, officials are calling it the first insider attack by a woman. an afghan policewoman has shot and killed a u.s. nato contractor in kabul, or maybe a woman dressed as a policewoman. straight to barbara starr at the pentagon for new details on this incident. hi, barbara. >> well, you're absolutely right, the woman was dressed in an afghan police uniform, but was she a member of the police forces? that, of course, still to be determined as this investigation goes on. the u.s. contractor has been identified by the company, the company he worked for. the man's name is joseph griffin, 49 years old, of mansfield, georgia. he was a veteran of u.s.
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military service. he also worked in many law enforcement positions. we're told. and he was in afghanistan, working for the contractor company dime corp. international, a major u.s. contractor in the war zone, working to help mentor and train afghan police forces. this is the latest of the so-called insider attacked that have plagued the forces over the past year. many active duty forces killed, contract contractors. 50 deaths this year. they haven't been able to get a handle on it. hala? >> and these attacks have been increasing. what is the reason behind the increase in attacks. >> this is -- they have increased throughout the year, but over the course of the year, ebbed and flowed, thankfully where there hasn't been one in several weeks. the military, the intelligence
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effort in the military has been to try to figure out the answer to that very question. what is going on. why is this happening? some of them are said to be taliban infiltrations. but there is a sense we're told that many of them are due, how to describe it, to cultural differences. afghans who feel a grudge, perhaps, to how they are treated by forces and western personnel, crossed signals, conversations that don't go well and sometimes the westerners don't have any idea perhaps they have offended the afghanistans. there is a lot of training going on now behind the scenes to try and be more culturally aware of what might cause a problem that can turn into one of these fatal attacks. hala? >> thank you, barbara starr, at the pentagon. their job was to make people laugh. that was before the newtown school shooting. >> he was one of the first responders to the scene. how are you?
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>> i'm doing okay. >> never in your life could you imagine you would pull up to a scene so horrific. >> absolutely not. there are certain things that people just shouldn't see. >> how a connecticut morning radio show has become a way for listeners to heal. tonight our guest, thomas sargent. nobel laureate in economics, and one of the most cited economists in the world. professor sargent, can you tell me what cd rates will be in two years? no. if he can't, no one can. that's why ally has a raise your rate cd. ally bank. your money needs an ally. progressive direct and other car insurance companies? yes. but you're progressive, and they're them. yes. but they're here. yes. are you...? there? yes. no. are you them? i'm me. but those rates are for... them. so them are here. yes! you want to run through it again?
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no, i'm good. you got it? yes. rates for us and them -- now that's progressive. call or click today. it's lots of things. all waking up. ♪ becoming part of the global phenomenon we call the internet of everything. ♪ trees will talk to networks will talk to scientists about climate change. cars will talk to road sensors will talk to stoplights about traffic efficiency. the ambulance will talk to patient records will talk to doctors about saving lives. it's going to be amazing. and exciting. and maybe, most remarkably, not that far away. the next big thing?
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we're going to wake the world up. ♪ and watch, with eyes wide, as it gets to work. ♪ cisco. tomorrow starts here. anyone have occasional constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating? yeah. one phillips' colon health probiotic cap each day helps defend against these digestive issues with three strains of good bacteria. approved! [ female announcer ] live the regular life. phillips'. well, a lot of people complain about what they hear on talk radio, that it is abrasive, brash, it is obnoxious. but in the aftermath of the school shooting massacre in newtown, connecticut, two morning drive time hosts changed up their format to help their community. take a listen.
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>> chaz, a.j., mornings. >> our morning show we like to call it a town hall meeting held in a frat house. friday was strange. we went from in the morning doing one of most happy, upbeat fun shows of the year -- >> next year will be even better -- >> to in the afternoon doing the saddest show of our careers. >> he was one of the first responders to the scene. how are you? >> i'm doing okay. >> never in your life could you imagine you would pull up to a scene so horrific. >> absolutely not. there are certain things people just shouldn't see. >> every moment it was getting worse and worse and you couldn't help but feel, did we reach the bottom. >> my sister is the behavioral therapist at sandy hook elementary. >> is that right? is she okay? >> we don't know. we haven't heard from her. >> how long ago did she start there? >> this is her second week there. >> she's probably very busy right now. >> yeah. >> absolutely. she's probably will be very
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terrified when she gets home, but right now her priority is her children. >> and monday we had her on the show and she was not okay. >> i'm so sorry for your loss. >> thank you. thank you very much. we're all -- we're all surprised and shocked. >> there is almost like a threshold for a nightmare. this left nightmare in the rear view mirror. >> my heart goes out to those parents because they'll never be the same. >> the fact that people were able to call in and get it out of their system, to talk about it, instead of keeping it bottled in, i think it helped them and helped us. >> jim in sandy hook. >> oomi'm a father of a third grader, you can imagine how our lives have been turned upside down. >> very close family friend of ours lost his son. >> gretchen in seymour. >> you bring hope to all of us who remain a little bit hopeless. >> barry. >> i don't know how any of the parents are doing what they're doing. >> a tough day, another tough day, a harder day.
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>> just can't get over what has happened. >> scott in rocksbury. >> a close friend of mine his son was one of the victims. >> mary in shelton. >> how are you? >> we're hanging in. >> as we all are. really tough. really, really tough. >> at the cemetery also there was probably 3200 to 300 firefighters. >> lined up along a funeral route. >> having the service for his son today in newtown. >> a lovely poem. can i share it with you? >> please don't cry, we're okay. we went on a field trip today. it is really nice, so i think i'll stay and hold your spot until your field trip day. i know christmas is here and there is toys to be given, so please tell santa to send them to heaven. >> well, we asked you to pick the most intriguing people of 2012. so who is number one? we'll show you along with the rest of the top ten. stay with us. i have a cold, and i took nyquil, but i'm still "stubbed" up. [ male announcer ] truth is, nyquil doesn't unstuff your nose. what? [ male announcer ] it doesn't have a decongestant.
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. it is the bottom of the hour. i'm hala gorani in for brooke baldwin. you helped us pick the most intriguing people of 2012. the results are in. and they include headliners and politics, sports, business and entertainment. here is brooke with the top ten. >> earlier this month, cnn.com readers cast ballots from our list.
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narrowing it down to ten. are you ready for the results? here we go. the top ten most intriguing people of 2012. number ten, supreme court chief justice john roberts. >> the united states supreme court in a major decision, a 5-4 decision, upheld the president's health care reform law. >> the deciding vote was cast by the chief justice himself, conservatives stunned, liberals perplexed, but thrilled, forging ahead. now they take on same sex marriage. number nine, yahoo! ceo marisa myer. at 37, head of a major tech company, a ceo, and a male dominated field, pregnant. it is the baby part that became problematic, shall we say, when myer decided to take just a couple of weeks for maternity leave. the mommy blogosphere went nuts.
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sure, she could be woman in charge, but what message was she sending by in the staying home longer with her baby? number eight, south korean rapper psy. ♪ >> say what you want, his lasso inspired dance style first discovered on youtube had everyone going gangnam and we mean everyone. >> the lasso again, then the horseback. ♪ >> psy was riding high in 2012, star performer in the most watched youtube video of all time. number seven, republican presidential candidate mitt romney. >> this election is over. but our principles endure. >> romney ran on his impressive business credentials but it was
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his multiple gaffes during the campaign that analysts say helped seal his fate. remember the 47% comments. >> 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government. >> and this one -- >> binders full of women. >> number six, ex-cia director general david petraeus. >> breaking news now coming in regarding the chief of the cia, general david petraeus. >> general petraeus, can you talk with us, please? >> the news was unexpected. the reason, shocking. petraeus, a retired four-star general, had quit his cia post and admitted he had cheated on his wife. petraeus' mistress was also his biographer, paula broadwell, an embarrassing exit from the public stage by one of the most respected public servants of his time. >> number five, super jumper
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felix bum gartner. let's face it, he did what no human has ever done, diving 24 miles from the edge of space, breaking the sound barrier along the way. >> i'm still the same guy. but as soon as you start traveling, people recognize my face. >> i was scared. >> you were scared? >> i was a little bit scared. >> number four, new jersey governor chris christie. >> the shore and the boardwalk in seaside heights of my childhood no longer exists. >> governor. >> thank you for everything. >> the rough and tumble governor took charge when a superstorm named sandy ravaged his state, days before the presidential election. a romney backer suddenly christie was standing arm and arm with the president, praising mr. obama's leadership as they toured sandy's wrath. >> when you know you have a responsibility for those folks, you can give a damn about the politics of things.
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i could care less today. >> number three, olympian gabby douglas. >> gabby douglas! >> one of the fab five at the london games, she captured our hearts, becoming the first african-american gymnast to win gold in both the individual all around and team competitions at the same olympics. >> i wanted to inspire a nation and i love that. >> she did just that. number two, school age activist malala. malala rose to fame blogging about the brutality of her life in pakistan under taliban rule. not yet a teenager, she dared to suggest girls not only deserve but have a right to an education. >> i would get my education if it is in home, school, or any place. >> the taliban retaliated,
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hunting her down, shooting her in the neck, and back. the attack outraged even hardened pakistanis, and all around the world malala quickly became an international symbol of good against evil. today, she is recovering in england. number one, president barack obama. >> tonight you voted for action. not politics as usual. >> after a long, and we mean long and bitter campaign, president obama won re-election. in 2012, the president also won the supreme court stamp of approval for his health care reform program, and made history with this statement. >> i think same sex couples should be able to get married. ♪ >> as 2012 comes to a close, the president joined in grief with the community, shocked by
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senseless violence. >> these tragedies must end. and to end them we must change. >> brooke baldwin, cnn, atlanta. well, to see the entire list or read more about the winners you chose, check out cnn.com. it is a christmas ad first in britain. find out why so many people are making a big deal about this television commercial. we'll be right back. i'm stacy harrison from hanover, maryland, serving with the task force med a in bagram, afghanistan. i would like to say merry christmas to my family, my husband cornelius, my daughters janae and javon. i love you. merry christmas. [ male announcer ] how do you trade? with scottrader streaming quotes, any way you want.
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the southwest uk is getting hammered with rain, causing travel nightmares. look at these rushing floodwaters in devon, england. the drenching rain is causing massive travel concerns and headaches. roads and rail lines washed over. britain's lined up sandbags on the weekend and now officials are warning people about even trying to get out on the roads. parts of wales and scotland are also getting flooded. now, christmas ad campaign in england is getting a lot of attention. atika schubert talks to the mother of a little boy who is winning hearts and changing mind sets along the way across the country. ♪ >> reporter: the christmas ad is out and 5-year-old sed white is a happy bouncing blur across the screen. you may have to rewind and pause just to see him, but that one shining moment grinning ear to ear is just where his mother wants him. >> they created an ad where he
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is just an equal, not singled out or labeled. i think that's why it has been so successful. >> come on. you can do it. >> reporter: he is the first child with down syndrome to be featured in a major brand's ad campaign in britain. his mother carolyn got the idea while shopping with seb and his brother dominick at british retailer marks & spencer's. >> i saw the back to school campaign and i just felt really passionate that he should be represented because he started school this year, the same as every other child and, you know, it was a really exciting day for us. i contacted m & s on their facebook page and the response was phenomenal and within a week we had a call. when seb was born, we didn't know he had down syndrome until afterwards. and it was a really big shock. and at the time we were devastated. and -- but i now realize that the reason i was so devastated was because i had such an outdated view on the condition. over time, as i fell in love
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with seb and saw the effect he had on people around him, he started to change people's attitudes. and i just felt if i could take it to a much wider audience, he was the best to help change perceptions of what down syndrome means today. >> get out! >> reporter: the public response has been overwhelmingly positive. carolyn's facebook page is now flooded with support of messages. she has this advice for parents who have children with down syndrome. >> it is a big shock. not what you plan in life. but i can honestly say i wouldn't swap seb for a world. he lives a full and rewarding life. he brings joy to us. he's charming. and, you know, you will get over it and realize that actually this, you know, there is nothing tragic. >> reporter: a message seb delivers with a kiss. atika shubert, cnn, baath, england. also this, sharing christmas thanks from the heart.
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>> want to give a shoutout to all my friends and brothers back in afghanistan, happy holidays, and i wouldn't be here without you guys. >> wounded vets working through the holidays as they recover from some terrible injuries. ♪ if loving you is wrong ♪ i don't wanna be right [ record scratch ] what?! it's not bad for you. it just tastes that way. [ female announcer ] honey nut cheerios cereal -- heart-healthy, whole grain oats. you can't go wrong loving it. you can stay in and like something
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♪ or you can get out there with your family and actually like something. ♪ the lexus december to remember sales event is on offering some of our best values of the year. this is the pursuit of perfection. over the next 50 years, we needore food produced. and it is staggering to think
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where is it all going to come from? we're already pushing the limits on land. we're already seeing food shortages in some parts of the world. so we need to pick up the pace, i think. and take it to the next level off shore and open up new frontiers for farming.
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christmas came just a bit early for a mother in oregon this year. >> just thinks i'm doing there doing a field op right now. she thinks i'm in the field right now. >> merry christmas. >> you made it home.
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oh! this is my best present yet. >> i hhis mom didn't think she would get to see her son before he left for redeployment to afghanistan. but they pulled it off just in time for christmas. their greatest gift this holiday season is that they're still around, frankly. wounded veterans working through christmas as they recover from some terrible injuries. their thoughts, though, are with their friends overseas who are not home for the holidays. here's barbara starr. >> push forward it opens, right? my elbow unlocks it, throw it back and that's how i maneuver. >> reporter: wounded troops in rehab at the holiday time. all christmas miracles. meet travis mills, one of the troops i visited with asking them to send holiday wishes to their buddies. >> hi, everybody. i'm staff sergeant travis mills of the 82nd airborne division. i want to wish everybody a merry christmas and happy new year, to
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all military forces overseas and home, and especially a shoutout to my guys in first platoon force squad, the gun show, miss you guys, love you, have a merry christmas. >> reporter: eight months ago he stepped on an ied. >> we thought it was clear, but it wasn't. it took all four limbs but didn't take my life. i'm thankful for that. >> reporter: it can be a struggle just to walk again. >> bud richenback with the u.s. navy. want to give a shoutout to my friends and family, have a good holiday and stay safe. >> reporter: army specialist tyler jeffries also lost his legs. >> i want to give a shoutout to my friends and brothers back in afghanistan, happy holidays. and i wouldn't be here without you guys. >> reporter: tyler is already getting ready for next christmas. >> i want to start walking as fast as i can because i'm in that wheelchair for, you know, hours upon hours all day. and i just want to be able to get up in my own house and get a cup out of the cupboard. >> lance corporal langston white. happy holidays to my family and
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i got a bunch of guys getting -- from my u getting their purple hearts today. i'm thinking about you guys today. got a special place for you guys in my hearts. >> reporter: joshua says it is a good holiday season because of his buddies. >> it is. it definitely -- they're there, they're alive and they're breathing. that's good -- it is good in my eye. >> i'm sergeant adam keys, combat engineer, airborne out of ft. bragg. shoutout to the guys in the 27th still overseas. >> reporter: a triple amputee, there is one thing adam didn't lose, his airborne wings tattoo. >> you can take this one off. >> reporter: i didn't even -- >> the wings are still there too, the airborne wings. that's good. >> reporter: that's good. >> yeah, of course. >> reporter: that's actually pretty cool, the airborne wings. >> they made it. they made it. >> so as a quadruple amputee eight months ago, laying up to hoses, i can walk now. fist pump. and then -- oop, i'm going to lean a little here. fist pump again. then jellyfish, jellyfish,
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jellyfish, jellyfish. >> reporter: barbara starr, cnn, walter reid national medical center. and up next, letters to santa from around the world. not asking for toys but asking for the gift of hope. that's after the break. this is specialist bailey, 3rd i.d., camp kuwait. i'd like to say merry christmas to family and friends back home. thank you for all your support. excuse me, sir i'm gonna have to ask you to power down your little word game. i think your friends will understand. oh no, it's actually my geico app...see? ...i just uh paid my bill. did you really? from the plane? yeah, i can manage my policy, get roadside assistance, pretty much access geico 24/7. sounds a little too good to be true sir. i'll believe that when pigs fly. ok, did she seriously just say that? geico. just click away with our free mobile app.
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things are getting wacky as people celebrate christmas this year. take a look. yes, this family in foten valley, california, takes holiday lights to a new level.
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some neighbors enjoy the show but one guy is not amused and says the glits is more appropriate for the las vegas strip. also, here we are, the queen of england is amused as she wears snazzy 3-d glasses to watch a sneak preview of her christmas address. now, for a water-skiing santa and flying elves. just one way to celebrate the season on the maryland side of the potomac river. it looks soggy there. and jolly old st. nick showed up on wall street today. santa was on hand for the early closing of the trading day. he's all about listing companies and capitalism and whatnot. stocks were down, by the way it wonder if bears or bulls will get a lump of coal. i guess bears maybe. it's an annual tradition, tracking santa's whereabouts on christmas eve. the ritual has gotten more high
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tech. alexandria steele is following the trek from atlanta. he was in ukraine the last hour. >> you can see, this is norad tracking santa. he was last spotted in amman, jordan, heading for jerusalem, in 2 minutes and 34 seconds. what's so cool about this is kind of the back story, how this all started. in 1955, there was an advertisement in a colorado springs news and it invited kids to call santa. the number in the advertisement was wrong so the kids called norad which is really a group of people kind of watching the skies. the officers on duty all played along. and the rest is history. so that's norad. there's a lot of cool things to do on this. you can look at all the holiday activities and look, scroll through the village, and santa has a hidden activity in each village to show you. but google is in on the action this year as well. there's a little discrepancy where the google santa is and where the norad santa is.
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google is flying from south to north. so i think they're kind of mingling right now in greece. so in santorini. this is his dashboard. you can see where he is. there's a lot of games. kids having a ball with it. it shows you where santa is. he's leaving his presence as he moves. he's moving from africa north. so now they kind of just bypassed each other in greece. and now google is now in finland where the other guy is. or similar santa was earlier. they're kind of meeting in the middle. just around the equator. >> here's the thing, we just don't want a midair santa crash. that would be the worst case scenario. thank you so much, alexandria, in an age of e-mails and tweets, here we go. it's nice to know that a letter can still be a powerful tool. it also helps if you have a powerful role model. that would be 9-year-old gabriella miller. she got strangers from around the world to write letters to
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santa. that out pouring will bring some joy for severely ill children like gabriella herself. now, our affiliate has the story. >> we have a mountain of letters here. >> reporter: chris' cramped foyer in leesburg, virginia, was transformed saturday into a remarkable repository of letters. >> here's a heavy bin if anybody's feeling strong. >> reporter: for weeks, she and a small band of volunteers have been counting, culling and reading. >> this would be saone says, al to mary justin bieber. >> reporter: notes to st. nick. >> dear santa, i wish i could see you when you company out of the chimney. >> reporter: they're handwritten from across the globe. >> from saudi arabia, all over. most is one kid writing one letter at a time. >> reporter: they read like dreams instead of superficial demands. >> dear santa claus, my only wish is to have gabriella
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better. >> reporter: because they aren't meant for kriss kringle at all. >> love, jesse. i love you, gabriella. >> reporter: only a month ago, their dear friends learned their v vivicious 9-year-old daughter had an inoperable brain tumor. she had a selfless epiphany. >> we still have mail. >> reporter: she asked for letters to santa because macy's donates $1 back to make a wish for every letter received. gabriella figured other children deserved their dream. >> every night at some point i burst into tears because children are so good in their hearts. >> i will not stop praying for your. >> reporter: well, they blew past their goal of 10,000. >> each bag probably has a few thousand letters in it. >> reporter: social media made 50,000 a reality. >> it's really buoyed her spirits during a time that otherwise might have felt really lonely.
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>> reporter: then all expectations were shattered. 100,000 became 150,000. which morphed into more than 200,000 letters. a moving company donated a truck. the u.s. postal service, bags and carts. so this avalanche of love could be delivered to the massey's m at dulles town center. >> it highlights what the community can do. >> reporter: despite arduous chemo and radiation treatments, this is where gabriella made her first public appearance. the girl who symbolizes so much of what we admire in the human condition. >> on behalf of make a wish foundation, we thank you for everything that you've done. >> reporter: then chris made the announcement. >> thanks to everyone who believes. it's 240,983! >> reporter: what happened next no one expected. one final letter would be read. >> dear

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CNN December 24, 2012 11:00am-1:00pm PST

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